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home : community : community September 29, 2020

7/9/2020 9:48:00 PM
COVID-19 In Catawba County: A Case Study

Jennifer McCracken, Public Health Director
Catawba County, North Carolina


In Catawba County, we have seen a significant increase in the number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks. While it is true that testing has increased, the reality is this: more people are getting sick in Catawba County. This has been largely driven by the spread of COVID-19 from infected individuals, most of whom were not yet aware they were sick, to people they know.

Take, for example, a recent situation in Catawba County where more than two dozen people attended a family gathering. Folks did not wear masks or observe physical distancing at this gathering, and 14 people who attended subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. Before they started to show symptoms, they continued with their daily lives, such as going to work or taking a beach trip with other families. This set into motion a person-to-person contact chain that to date has spread COVID-19 to 41 people in 9 different families and 8 different workplaces.

Situations like this have become painfully common in Catawba County. I share this example because I hope it can help our community see how easily COVID-19 is actively spreading. More importantly, I hope it will convince us all to be even more willing to do the small things we’re being asked to do to protect ourselves and others: wear a mask in public, maintain physical distance, and wash hands frequently.

It’s not hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19. What’s hard is having to call 20, 30, 40 people a day and tell them that not only are they sick with an untreatable illness, but they are also required to isolate themselves from others, including their loved ones, and stay home from work for two weeks or until they recover. This is especially difficult when they do not have the support systems that many of us take for granted, such as paid sick leave, the ability to isolate in their own home, or available caretakers for their children. It’s even harder when they are experiencing severe illness as a result of their exposure – exposure that could have been prevented.

Like you, I want nothing more than for COVID-19 and all its restrictions to go away as quickly as possible. Fortunately, we know what to do to help make this happen. The power to do it is literally in our hands.

More information about Catawba County’s COVID-19 response and recommended prevention measures is online at www.catawbacountync.gov


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Catawba County had 28 new cases of COVID-19 reported Thursday (July 9th) bringing the county's active case count to 590.  14 people have died from the disease in Catawba County.

Gaston County's active cases now number 660.  The county has had 16 deaths related to the disease.

Cleveland County added its eighth death from COVID-19 on Thursday.  Cleveland County has 98 active cases.

Lincoln County had 81 known active cases as of Wednesday (July 8th).

The three largest US states: California, Texas and Florida, all had their largest daily death toll Thursday since the pandemic began.  

This epidemic is far from over; it is not a hoax--it is a deadly disease.  The best way to prevent its spread is by wearing a covering over your nose and mouth to prevent your breath (carrying unseen droplets that may include the virus) from infecting others if you have the disease (you may be asymptomatic, having no symptoms yet, but infected all the same); and by maintaining social distancing (six feet or more) whenever possible and by washing your hands thoroughly and often.  


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